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One writes about sharing her birthday cake with students in a rural school in Malaysia. Another remembers her 1,000-mile drive around New Zealand's South Island, punctuated by scenic views and sightings of penguins. Yet another recalls trying his hand at water calligraphy in a Beijing park. A new academic year is about to start and UCSD students, who studied abroad this summer are reflecting on their experiences and favorite memories. Here are their last Dispatches from the Field.

Sara Richardson
A Grand Tour of New Zealand’s
South Island Before Coming Home

Auckland, New Zealand, Sept. 22 -- When someone asks me, “How was New Zealand?” the first words that come to mind are beautiful, empty and wet. Beautiful because of the stunning, untouched scenery in almost every direction; empty except for the herds of sheep, cattle and deer in the pastures on the side of the road and the occasional small town; and wet due to the fact that it was, of course, winter there.

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Photo of Sara Richardson
Sara Richardson is studying at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, where she is creating 3-D models to determine the impact of athletic activity on muscles' size and shape.

Previous Dispatches

 

 

Cindy Tran
Looking Back on Fond Memories of a Summer in Malaysia

Penang, Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia, Sept. 22 -- Although Malaysia was amazing, I am glad to be home in beautiful California. The  first difference I noticed was that my common sense keeps telling me we are driving in the oncoming traffic lane! I get a little tense when driving on the right side of the road because I have become so accustomed to the left side. Also, Penang island is so in tune with nature that it now feels a bit strange to be living an urban lifestyle again. I sometimes find myself looking back on my last weeks in Malaysia and some memories stand out.

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Photo of Cindy Tran
Cindy Tran is getting to know a completely different culture in Malaysia, while doing research on avian flu strains.

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Michael Wang
The End of a Fulfilling Experience

Beijing, China, Sept. 18 -- As cliché as it may sound, my summer in Beijing flew by in the blink of an eye, drawing to an abrupt close far before I was ready for it to end. I was surprised to find myself culturally shocked when I first got back, my eyes a bit uneasy to discover the roads so unoccupied, the street signs all in English and the air so arid in California. In two-month’s time I had experienced so much, yet I can’t help but feel that there is still so much more left for me to see in Beijing.  It is my hope that I’ll have the opportunity to venture back there in the near future.

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Photo of Michael Wang
Michael Wang is studying at the Computer Network Information Center in Beijing, China, while trying to improve his Mandarin and blend in.

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Benjamin J. Trevias
“No Worries” and 120 Smiles in Thailand

Trang, Thailand, Aug. 18 -- What I took away from my two weeks at Baan Lang Khao English Camp in Thailand was how much compassion and hospitality could be found within a single meal and smile. In fact, it was almost two dozen meals in two weeks and at least 120 smiles a day at our school. Thai hospitality is legendary, but what we received exceeded all expectations and could only be succinctly captured in the frequently used Thai phrase, “Mai pen rai,” or “no worries.”

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Photo of Michael Wang
Benjamin Trevias recently spend three weeks teaching English in Thailand as part of UC San Diego's Alternative Breaks program.

 

 

 

Arjun Varma
Seeing Another Side of India While
Working for an International Corporation

New Delhi, India, Aug. 18 -- When I visited India previously, it has always been on a vacation with my family to visit relatives. This is the first time I have come by myself and for work, instead of leisure. I wanted to do an internship in an international workplace environment, as it is interesting to be a part of a totally different culture and see how things are done in the office. India seemed like an ideal place to do an internship, as it is, along with China, one of the fastest-growing economies in the world today.

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Photo of Arjun Varma
Arjun Varma, a sophomore and economics major at Sixth College, is working as an intern at the headquarters of PepsiCo India in New Dehli.

 

 

 

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